Hafiz Zubir & Co.

Is Joint Petition for Divorce an Easy Way to Say Goodbye to your partner?

Well, it is truly undeniable that no one will pray for a relationship to end when marriages are being registered but unfortunately, it is also noticeable that the rate of couples getting divorce in Malaysia depict a large value. As far as non-Muslims or civil marriages in Malaysia are concerned, the Department of Statistics Malaysia has proven that there is a spike of divorces being recorded among non-Muslims from 9,419 (2020) to 12, 284 (2021) which highlights an increase of 30.4%. Legally, the non-Muslims or civil marriages and divorces in Malaysia are governed under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA) and enforceable under the civil law courts in Malaysiawhich means a joint petition shall also be governed under the said Act.

A joint petition for divorce or also known as bilateral divorce or as an uncontested divorce is a legal document that is filed by both spouses of a marriage in civil law courts in Malaysia, indicating that they mutually consented to end their relationship and marriage. There are only simple requirements that need to be fulfilled by the parties prior to filing the joint petition such as parties are married for more than 2 years except for exceptional hardship cases, both parties domiciled in Malaysia and the said marriage has to be registered in Malaysia or deemed to be registered under the LRA 1976.

This type of divorce can be beneficial than the single petition or also known as the unilateral divorce or contested divorce due to the following reasons:

a) Cost-effective: A joint petition for divorce can save couples a significant amount of money in legal fees, as they are not required to hire separate lawyers to represent them in court. However, if they intended to be represented by different lawyers, then they might do so. The lawyers will file lesser cause papers as compared to the single petition.

b) Time-efficient: Since parties have mutually consented to the arrangement custody and control of their children (if any), division of matrimonial assets (if any), maintenance sum for spouse and children (if any) etc, it takes less time to go through the Court processes as there are no disputes or disagreements to be resolved by the Court. In fact, parties can skip the process of going through the counseling sessions in National Registration Department (JPN) when joint petition is filed.

c) Less stressful: By agreeing to the terms of the divorce beforehand, couples can avoid the stress and emotional turmoil that often comes with a contested divorce.

d) Amicable resolution: Joint petitions for divorce allow couples to work together to negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement, which can lead to a more amicable resolution and a better co-parenting relationship if children are involved.

If the petition is in order, the Court will then grant the divorce as prayed by parties which is known as the ‘decree nisi’ of which will be made absolute after the expiration of three months from its grant unless the court by general or special order from time to time fixes a shorter period. Upon having made an order for decree nisi absolute, the said marriage is deemed to be legally dissolved and parties shall update their respective marital status in National Registration Department (JPN) thereafter.

Therefore, a joint petition for divorce can be a less contentious and more efficient way for couples to end their marriage, especially when they are able to agree on the terms of the divorce and work together to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. Being lawyers, we do recognize that family matters are among the most sensitive matters and it has to dealt privately and delicately. So, if you need our assistance in handling your matter, kindly contact us for more information.